Six apps for making life easy

Life is harder than Obama, Nicki Minaj and Jedward let on. Here are five apps for making your life that little bit easier.

Zeek

Christmas and birthdays are basically paydays for students. For the first time in your lives you're more interested in receiving a nice flat card which might contain money rather than a large moving parcel with mysterious air holes which could contain a puppy.

Opening it up and finding vouchers for nail varnish could mean you spend the next week hungry (albeit with fabulous nails).

Zeek is a place where you can exchange all your unwanted vouchers for cold, hard cash. You simply download the free app from the App Store or Google Play, upload your unwanted gift voucher, set the price you’d be willing to accept and wait for a buyer. Zeek will send cash directly to you and vouchers to the buyer.

From the buyer's point of view you can get vouchers you want at a lower cost. So if you're planning on spending £10 in boots you can buy a voucher using Zeek for less than that, as a way to get extra money off your shop.

£300million per year is wasted in the UK alone by people not using vouchers and letting them expire or throwing them away. Don't add to that pile.

Bonus: New users can use promo code 2sms88 to claim £7 credit to use on Amazon, Argos & More. Get it here.

Britmoji

Sometimes emojis don't express quite how British you are. Winky face a bit too American looking for you? Britmoji solves that by having that winky face on the Queen. The Brits know that sometimes you can only say something with a Shakespeare quote - but sometimes it's just as easy to say it with a picture of Shakespeare's crying face...


"How was the play?" "Romeo and Juliet? It made me *shakespeare cry face*"

The Britmoji app integrates into you keyboard on your phone, enabling you to use stickers in iMessage and WhatsApp etc. The app is available for iPhone in the App Store for £0.79, and in Google Play for Android users for £1.

Stop procrastinating

Work time. If you need to work and the deadline is looming you need to concentrate. Only problem is the world is now incredibly distracting. Even your pocket is filled with the entire contents of the internet and anywhere you have even the slightest bit of signal you can check on the internet's latest cat photos.

Apps like App Detox and SelfControl can help you regain some self-control. If you know you've got an essay to do you can use these apps to lock yourself out of your favourite websites and apps for however long you need to get your essays, revision or work done, or just limit yourself to a certain amount of time on these sites or apps.

For making sure your computer can't help you procrastinate, StayFocusd is a good solution if you use Google Chrome as your browser.

Google docs

Working on loads of different devices is one of the most annoying first world problems you face at university. Ideally you'd like to be able to work at home, on your way to uni on the bus and in the library or whilst lounging around on campus if you get the urge. The problem is keeping track of files. Emailing them to yourself is annoying, and not all devices open up the same document in the same way. (e.g. your library computer may run an old version of word, and will slightly alter your formatting in a very annoying way when you open your carefully formatted file).

Google Docs, the internet giant's version of word, is a pretty good solution to this. All documents are stored in the cloud (so you aren't wasting precious space on your devices, unless you choose to back it up on them), but you can save it as a .docx (i.e. word) file if you choose and you can access them from most devices, seeing them in the same format. This means you could work from your desktop at home, continue working on them on the bus (on your phone or laptop) and continue to work on the same file once you get to the library.

You can even access them at the same time from several different devices (which is useful if you're working on a group presentation).

Staying healthy

Going to the gym is the easiest way to motivate yourself, because it turns it into a friendly competition. You pick a stranger, the person who's clearly exhausted and/or on the brink of collapse, and try to do more squats than they do. But going to the gym is an expensive way to stay motivated.

Exercise apps and accessories are a motivating and cheap alternative to going to the gym. The Fitbit app is good for this, as it has the most users. Most people using it have the fitbit watch, but an app on your phone will track your steps nearly as accurately.

The achievements you get turn exercise into a sort of computer game, and it's surprisingly motivating to have something in your pocket constantly judging your performance.

The best way they motivate you is by forcing you into hilariously competitive competitions with your friends as you compete to stay top of the steps leaderboard.

Richard, a 28 year old Fitbit user and ridiculous man, got into a war with his sister on Fitbit. At 11pm him and his sister regularly end up pacing around their own lounges in an attempt to out-do the other's step totals.

"The key is to take teeny tiny steps like a vole would, or Danny DeVito" he told Student Money Saver.

Adblock plus

A friend called me over to view an article titled "ten cats who think they're people" on his computer recently. What I saw when I got there was incredibly distressing.

The cats were fine and I more than agreed they thought they were people: What distressed me was the amount of pop-ups that kept springing up around the screen and my friend's perfect willingness to sit there clicking on the x for ten minutes whilst he tried to view the article. If my computer started acting like this I'd either try to burn the virus out or consult an exorcist. Here he was thinking it was all part of normal daily internet life.

I don't think I've seen an advert online on my own computer since they advertised Friends in the late 1990s. Yet a lot of people I meet are completely unaware they can block adverts from their computer extremely easily.

There are loads of ad-ons to browsers designed to block even the most annoying of adverts, so you don't have to see any whilst watching Youtube or browsing ad-crammed sites such as Facebook or various tabloid newspapers. One of the most prominent ones is AdBlock Plus, which more than does the job of keeping adverts at bay whilst you try to get on with your internetting.


This article was sponsored by Zeek, the app for exchanging unwanted vouchers for cash.

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